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David Baddiel opens up on his daughter's eating disorder in social media documentary

David Baddiel has opened up on his daughter Dolly's battle with anorexia. (Getty Images)
David Baddiel has opened up on his daughter Dolly's battle with anorexia. (Getty Images)

David Baddiel has opened up for the first time about his daughter's "painful" battle with anorexia.

The 57-year-old comedian has spoken publicly for the first time about his now 20-year-old's eating disorder she suffered in her teens in new BBC2 documentary David Baddiel: Social Media, Anger And Us.

Baddiel said: "This was Dolly’s thing, not mine, and it was so dangerous while it was going on that I thought, ‘I cannot disturb this in any way that might be counterproductive to her getting better’.”

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Dolly revealed: “In 2017, when I was 15, I was very, very sick for about three years with anorexia...

The comedian fronts new BBC documentary 'David Baddiel: Social Media, Anger and Us'. (BBC)
The comedian fronts new BBC documentary David Baddiel: Social Media, Anger and Us. (BBC)

"There was a multitude of things that culminated in it happening. But once I was in it, I think social media made it much more difficult for me to recover.”

She explained: "Anorexia and eating disorders in general are very competitive illnesses.

"Once I’d found this recovery community on Instagram, that identity of the anorexic was really easy to latch on to.

“It was an appealing identity because I really didn’t like who I was, which I think is quite common amongst teenagers.”

Baddiel told his daughter: “I was pained. I could tell it was causing you pain.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 09:  (L-R) Dolly Loveday Baddiel, David Baddiel and Morwenna Banks attend The Olivier Awards 2017 at Royal Albert Hall on April 9, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
David Baddiel with daughter Dolly and wife Morwenna Banks in 2017. (Getty Images)

The writer and TV presenter analysed the negative effects of social media on mental wellbeing in the new documentary.

He said: “Dolly would definitely have been better off without it.”

The Three Lions singer admits to being addicted to social media platform Twitter himself.

He said: “I wake up and reach for my phone and I’m looking through emails but I’m also looking at Twitter. Addiction that puts you at risk of extreme hatred is a weird thing to feel you’re addicted to.”

In the programme Baddiel has his brain scanned by whilst reading tweets about himself.

The scans show the positive tweets stimulated the reward centre of the brain, giving Baddiel a “pleasure fix”.

But reading negative tweets sparked a "fight or flight" reaction in the brain, leaving him with pent up aggression.

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Baddiel explained: “The brain perceives the negative tweet as a threat. I want to fight — but you can’t, so you deflect that into something else.”

Watch: Facebook leads users to anorexia content says whistle-blower